Low-Key, Real-Life Heroism In 'March: Book Two'

Feb 2, 2015

Some media are custom-made for heroes. Ava DuVernay's gripping film Selma gains much of its drama from the beauty — physical and metaphysical — of David Oyelowo's portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oyelowo's incredible voice gives practically everything King says the compelling force of a sermon, and his physical presence — strangely small and economical of motion — is as unique as it is potent.

In this version of Chattanooga, monsters hide beneath the streets and in lurk dark corners.

Shane Berryhill’s Bad Mojo features vampires—called “vipers” by the locals—who dwell in underground Chattanooga.  Zombies attack people in alleys near the Terminal Brewhouse.  Legendary dive bar the Stone Lion is still open for business, an enchanted, magically-protected haven for humans and supernatural creatures alike.

Project Keepsake is both a book and a Web site that collects stories about special objects--family heirlooms, old cookware, antique musical instruments, toys and other things people save.  Dozens of area writers, both professionals and amateurs, have participated in the project.  Many of the stories are poignant tales about significant life events or family members who have passed on. 

The book contains 55 stories, many from members of the Chattanooga Writers' Guild.

Pulitzer-Prize winning historian James M. McPherson joins us to discuss his new book Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief, which re-examines the legacy of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.  In this extended interview, McPherson also talks about historical preservation and the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.

From the publisher:

John Dos Passos Coggin joins us today.  Coggin is an author and political strategist, and he's written a biography, Walkin’ Lawton, about Lawton Chiles, who was one of Florida’s most beloved politicians.  As a candidate, Chiles walked across the Sunshine State and earned his nickname.  In this interview, we discuss why so many Floridians loved Chiles.

Halloween is a day for ghost stories, but if you're a skeptic, don't fret. As the late Alabama storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham assured her listeners, tales of restless spirits are for everybody.

"I collect ghost stories," Windham said. "Now, the nice thing about ghost stories is that you don't have to believe in ghosts to enjoy hearing a good ghost story."

Kerry Howley teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and she’s written articles and essays for The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Reason and The Atlantic.  Her debut book, Thrown, is literary nonfiction about mixed martial arts fighting, philosophy and a search for transcendence.

Over 5,000 Americans have died fighting in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, over the past 12 years, more than 2,000 soldiers have committed suicide.

One military family experienced both of those horrors — losing one son in combat and one to suicide. Journalist Yochi Dreazen's new book, The Invisible Front: Love And Loss In An Era of Endless War, tells the true story of the Graham family and two events that would forever change the very fabric of their world.

Tom Kanon joins us to discuss two intertwined, oft-overlooked military conflicts: The War of 1812 and the Creek War.  Kanon is an author and an archivist for the Tennessee State Library in Nashville.  His new book is Tennesseans at War, 1812–1815: Andrew Jackson, The Creek War, And The Battle of New Orleans.

Drew Magary's novel The Postmortal explores what might happen if scientists discovered a cure for aging.

In this dystopian sci-fi story, governments initially outlaw the cure; many people obtain it and use it anyway, and the world soon faces overcrowding and increasing tensions between immortals and "organics" who remain mortal.

Alabama-based The Ardent Writer Press recently published Dollface, a crime thriller set in Chattanooga.  The novel centers on Moses Palmer, a cop who runs afoul of his boss and the city's political powers as he tracks a serial killer.  Dollface is J.D. Frost's first novel, and he joins us for a conversation about it.

Novelist and Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen writes with passion and purpose about the state he loves. His latest book, Bad Monkey, is an offbeat murder mystery set in Key West.

Originally broadcast June 13, 2013.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit


George Derryberry joins us to talk about his book Path Of Valor: A Marine’s Story.

In 1962, Lee Reynolds, a Marine, was on a work detail at Camp Lejeune, destroying old military equipment.  He discovered an old canteen with an inscription scratched on the surface:


               ON IT. KILLED 3 JAPS

               IWO JIMA ROUF GO

               MOVING ON TO CAVES

Patrick Johnston is a self-described “soccer junkie.” A soccer coach at the University of the South in Sewanee, he has been to every World Cup since Mexico in 1986 and wrote the book The Odyssey of a Soccer Junkie about his experiences.  He was our guest on Around and About a few weeks ago to talk about his book detailing his adventures in pursuit of tickets and a place to sleep wherever the World Cup has been played in the past 25 years.

Ellen Phillips writes the Consumer Watch column for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, which appears on Sundays.  She's also written two books: Shocked, Appalled, and Dismayed!: How to Write Letters of Complaint That Get Results and Fight Back and Win!